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September 24, 2015

Sharing EU citizen data could be ruled illegal

Latest in on-going case seen as favouring privacy activist.

By CBR Staff Writer

The European Court of Justice has given an opinion that the data sharing practice between European Union countries and US are ‘invalid’ which could prevent companies like Facebook share data to US authorities.

The opinion was provided by an advocate general (AG) of the European Court of Justice (CJEU) while hearing a lawsuit by a privacy campaigner on NSA’s PRISM programme.

Final judgement in the case is not out yet.

The case currently surrounds Facebook’s sharing of data with the NSA but should the final ruling be in line with the AG’s opinion, it could be also applicable US based tech titans including Apple, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.

Final ruling by the 15 judge bench of the highest court in the European Union is expected later this year.

Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems has been campaigning against Facebook for privacy violation after former CIA employee Edward Snowden revealed that the US was spying on other countries through surveillance scheme operated by the NSA called Prism.

Prism provides provided US officials with ways to scrutinise data held by US tech firms about Europeans and other foreign citizens.

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Max Schrems said: "Self-certification under safe harbor gives US companies an extremely unfair advantage over all other players on the European market that have to stick to much stricter EU law.

"Removing ‘safe harbor’ would mainly mean that US companies have to play by rules that are equal to those their competitors already play by and that they cannot aid US mass surveillance."

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